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Chinese Essay Writing

Open to: Grades 2 - 12

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math or verbal score required

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Chinese for Elementary Students, Advanced, Part IV or 4 years of Chinese study for students in grades 2-6, Chinese Language, Intermediate, Part II or 2 years of Chinese study for students in grades 7-12, or placement test.

Course Format: Session BasedSee calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 12 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring, Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Course Code: CHEW

Course Description


This course will guide students in the creative delivery of their ideas in written Chinese. Students will begin reviewing vocabulary and grammar, including sentence structure, and then move on to the writing process. Activities include reading articles that require students to synthesize, determine cause and effect, and draw comparisons and conclusions. Students will be encouraged to support their ideas with specific examples. Writing assignments may include a short narrative story, a description, and a persuasive essay. This course is ideal for students with strong speaking skills who desire more practice in their Chinese reading and writing. Students will be separated by grade into two groups: grades 2-6 and grades 7-12, if enrollment permits.

This course has synchronous virtual class meetings and students will also schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor and teaching assistant. View the schedule for class meeting times. Meetings will be recorded for students who are unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Virtual classrooms, and student activities in the classroom, may be recorded and added to the course as an ongoing asset for all class students to review. Students may be invited to interact in CTY community spaces that include students and instructors and potentially specially invited guests that are not enrolled in their course. Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations. Student contributions (e.g., projects, forum posts, etc.) may remain in the course after the student completes the course. These artifacts may be preserved to showcase student work or to continue important conversations.

Materials Required

Students will need a headset with microphone. A microphone with an on/off switch is recommended.

In addition, a textbook must be purchased for this course:

Developing Writing Skills in Chinese, 2nd Edition by Boping Yuan & Kan Qian, Routledge. ISBN-13: 9780415678896.

Optional: Although a Chinese-English dictionary is not required, it may be useful as a personal reference for the duration of this course.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

The following topics will be covered in the course:

  • Introduction to Narrative Essays
  • Sample Narrative Essay Reading
  • Analyzing and Discussing the Elements of Narrative Essay
  • Introduction to Descriptive Essays
  • Sample Descriptive Essay Reading
  • Analyzing and Discussing the Elements of Descriptive Essay
  • Description of People's Physical Attributes
  • Description of People's Emotional Attributes
  • Description of People's Disposition
  • Description of People's Movements and Actions
  • Description of Places and Weather

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

Most course lectures may be viewed on mobile devices, but in some cases assignments and quizzes must be completed on a desktop or laptop computer.

This course uses Respondus LockDown Browser proctoring software for designated assessments. LockDown Browser is a client application that is installed to a local computer. Visit the Respondus website for system requirements.

While Chromebook can be used to progress through the course, all exams must be completed on a PC or Mac.